By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
AEW Rampage taping
Taped November 29, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota at Target Center
Report by Dot Net contributor Chris Vetter
* This is my fourth live show with a Rampage taping, and this was easily the quickest they transformed the ring. Tony Khan addressed us and by the time he was done, we were ready to go. I think this is important. The last tapings I attended in Milwaukee and Chicago, fans really started to leave their seats during Rampage, but I didn’t see people leaving. Maybe it’s because such a strong lineup was announced? Either way, fans stayed for the bonus show.
1. Orange Cassidy, Hook, Trent Beretta, and Danhausen defeated Matt Menard, Angelo Parker, Alex Reynolds, and Evil Uno (w/Jake Hager) at 10:12. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Reynolds without also seeing John Silver. Hook was hesitant to join in a ‘group hug’ on a first attempt, but he joined in the group hug on the second attempt. At about 3:30, Wheeler Yuta’s music hit; he came out on the stage, but he joined commentary. He had his Pure Title on his shoulder. The comedy you would expect, from Danhausen putting a curse on Menard, to the purple hat being pulled out, causing Hager to lunge into the ring to try and get it back. Danhausen pinned Menard.
* If there were any segments shot between Angelo Parker and Ruby Soho, we didn’t see it.
* Sting got his full entrance, then Ric Flair got his full entrance. As others have noted, I don’t think this will be shown on Friday’s episode. They both gave meandering promos about all the times they’ve wrestled in the Twin Cities, and mentioned some of their opponents. Flair claimed he has wrestled Sting 1,500 times, which cannot possibly be true. Again, nothing was said that added to the storylines, but hammered home the point that Sting is retiring next spring, and Flair is going to be there to see it.
2. Konosuke Takeshita, Powerhouse Hobbs, and Kyle Fletcher (w/Don Callis) defeated Jah-C, Renny D, and Kit Sackett at 0:59. Jah-C is a thin Black man. Renny D has wrestled at the past tapings here and I recall he did a random AEW Dark in Ohio or Indiana a few months ago; it was really far from home for him. So, the heels had the three enhancement guys in their arms. Fletcher hit a piledriver first, then Takeshita hit a piledriver. Hobbs was standing in the middle, and he hit a Mark Henry slam to pin Jah-C.
Callis got on the mic. Takeshita cut a promo entirely in Japanese; the only word we understood was “Jericho.” Hobbs got on the mic basically to say he’s big and he’s Black. Callis resumed talking, saying his team will take out Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega for good. So, no mic time at all for Kyle Fletcher.
3. Skye Blue, Hikaru Shida, and Kris Statlander defeated Saraya, Anna Jay, and Ruby Soho at 6:53. I can’t stress how awesome Saraya was here. It was about 10 p.m. CST, and she was barking at a kid in the front row to sit down and just belittling fans. She loudly shouted at Ruby Soho. The most notable thing to me was during this match was Statlander hitting a couple German suplexes on Saraya. They looked safe, but I wince watching Saraya take bumps like that… I want her wrestling a long time! So, Soho accidentally kicked Anna Jay, and Skye Blue wound up hitting the Code Blue to pin Soho. Saraya was NOT happy. I hope it comes off well on TV, because Saraya was definitely the star here, whether in the ring or on the apron.
4. Komander, El Hijo del Vikingo, and Penta El Zero Miedo defeated Brian Cage and “The Workhorsemen” JD Drake and Anthony Henry (w/Prince Nana) at 11:17. A really good match to close the show. The fun spot early on where Vikingo chopped Drake who no-sold them, and Drake fired back with loud chops. In a spot early in the match, the three babyfaces went for stereo dives to the floor, but Vikingo struck the top rope. Huge credit here to JD Drake, who caught him as he landed awkwardly. Late in the match, Henry accidentally kicked Cage, who got angry, so he clotheslined Henry. He and Nana left the ring and the match continued. Komander walked the top rope and hit his springboard Shooting Star Press. Vikingo immediately hit the top-rope 630 Splash for the pin. This was really good action. I really hope the Workhorsemen have some type of deal in place.
A good show and I think fans went home happy with what they saw.